The Mainland Affairs Council yesterday said that there would not be any charter flights evacuating Taiwanese from China’s Wuhan either yesterday or today, while it also confirmed that some of the evacuees on the first charter flight from Wuhan on Monday night were not Taiwanese, but Chinese spouses of Taiwanese.
After the Central Epidemic Command Center on Tuesday night announced the 11th confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus in Taiwan — a Taiwanese man in his 50s who arrived on the first charter flight and whose fever was detected upon his arrival — local media outlets reported rumors that the man was not included on the passenger list for Monday’s flight.
The reports also cited a source as saying that many of the evacuees were not Taiwanese, but Chinese spouses and family members of Taiwanese, sparking speculation about how the passenger list had been drawn up.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chen Ming-tong (陳明通) yesterday said that the council had clearly expressed to Chinese authorities in Wuhan that Taiwanese who were on short trips and lacked resources, as well as children, elderly people and people with chronic diseases that were of higher risk of infection should have been given priority for the charter flight.
“However, the last-minute list of evacuees provided by the Chinese authorities before the plane boarded on Monday was not ideal,” Chen said.
As a passenger’s fever was detected upon his arrival and he was later confirmed to be infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus, disease prevention measures in China would also seem to be flawed, he said.
“Disease prevention measures must be impenetrable before the next charter flight [evacuating Taiwanese] can be arranged,” Chen said.
The council would ensure that disease prevention measures are enhanced, the list of passengers is approved by the council beforehand and that there is enough room in quarantine stations for the evacuees before the next flight is arranged, he said.
Asked to confirm rumors about non-Taiwanese on board the first charter flight, Chen said that all of them were Chinese spouses who held resident certificates for Taiwan.
Separately, asked to confirm a remark by Vincent Hsu (徐正文), who represents a support group for Taiwanese in Wuhan, that a second charter flight would return to Taiwan yesterday, council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) said that no charter flights had been scheduled for yesterday or today.
He said that the council would continue to negotiate with Chinese authorities to ensure that passengers on the next flight meet the council’s criteria and the passenger list can be approved by the council at least a day before the flight takes off.
“Some individuals might try to influence the decisionmaking process of who is on board the flights, but only the government has the authority to make those decisions,” Chiu said.
The second charter flight would not be able to take off without the council approving the passenger list, he said.
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly